Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Climate Change and Sri Lanka - Tourism, Recreation, Urban city planning and Human Settlement

“Climate Change” which the whole world has been molested, has become the most destructive environmental threat in the century. Today “Global temperature” has rapidly increased as a result of emitting greenhouse gases widely towards atmosphere due to human activities. There are 6 major greenhouse gases which are mentioned by “Kyoto Protocol” such as Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbon (HFCS), Perfluorocarbons (PFCS), Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These greenhouse gases which gathered in atmosphere allow to penetrate to radiations emitted by sun. When the sun rays fall on surface of earth, a portion out of them reflects towards space as infra-red radiations immediately.  Those infra-red radiations are absorbed by greenhouse gases which gathered in atmosphere. As a result of this process, general temperature of atmosphere near to surface of earth is enhanced. Without this natural greenhouse effect, life on earth could not be survived.
After the industrial revolution global warming rapidly increased since man trended to use fossil fuel mostly.  With this incident, population and economic development also ceaselessly began to grow. So today amount of greenhouse gases which are emitting due to human activities is higher than natural greenhouse effect which existed before industrial revolution since persistent development and industrial affairs.

Comparing with other developed countries, contribution to greenhouse effect of Sri Lanka is less although the climate change impacts affected to all developed and developing countries. But the challenge is that the adaptability with climate change impacts of developed countries is high than developing countries. The situation of Sri Lanka is also same. During recent rainy season, it was reported that many people have died and many are reported missing due to floods and landslides. At the same time, people in another few districts had to face to the severe drought since climate disequilibrium.

As a developing country, we have to get adapted to climate change impacts. In the same time we should try to mitigate   our actions contributing towards climate crises. With the population growth rate and urbanization in Sri Lanka, amount of CO2 which emits to atmosphere has become higher than past few years. According to this vulnerable circumstance, we have to constitute sustainable green cities with less negative environmental impacts. City planning is not just a process but a broader action which makes better life style.  Physical, Social, Economical and Environmental aspects should be focused with this process. Today our environmental components are altering as a result of climate change consequences. When we create, recreate or adjust the physical structure, Environmental components must be considered in a sustainable manner, owing to the fact that we are not able to obtain a perfect surrounding which not reach any vulnerable circumstances. Therefore, we have to adapt to the existing environment and also we must practice sustainable strategies to mitigate climate change consequences when the physical structure is created, recreated or adjusted. Furthermore planners should consider relevant rules, regulations, past records, strategies and other criterion when they create a city structure for an area which has an uncertainty with earthquakes, landslides, floods, droughts or any other environmental crises. For an instance, when a house is built at a land sliding prone area, it should be done on pillars or accordingly the slope without damaging relevant land. Occasionally certain development projects may be restricted according to the environmental conditions. The community should be facilitated without harming bio diversity in the natural environment.

When the population is rapidly grown and consumption is enhanced, amount of Carbon dioxide and Methane which emit from waste dumping yards, are also proportionally increased. Therefore, actions towards conscious consumerism, tree plantation and urban gardening such as rooftop and vertical gardening should be motivated. Hence the rainwater harvesting system or waste water purification can be maintained to watering them in urban areas. Sustainable waste management procedures such as waste segregation, recycling, composting, sanitary land fillings and bio gas  should be implemented since reducing Methane and Carbon dioxide emits are vital to mitigate climate issues. In addition we should utilize regenerating resources such as solar energy, wind and natural air instead of using fossil fuel.

Tourism industry is one of the most successful and fastest growing economic aspect in Sri Lanka today. Now both foreign and National travelers have trended towards recreations to redemption from their urban busy lifestyle. But climate change consequences are affecting to stretch and quality of tourism season and tourism operations. Unfortunately it has become a barrier since outdoor recreation is depend on the natural resource base and the weather. As an example, some ski resorts might have to close in some countries as climate issues. In Sri Lanka, higher sea level and stronger storms lead to erosion along the coast and make the beach a place with less space. There are numerous foreign tourists who are bathing sun shine at captivating coastal areas in Sri Lanka. But it will be an inconvenient habit in the near future as the temperature of sun rays is growing. As well, when the sea-surface temperature is increased, Scuba diving which is one of the most popular ocean activity that encourages the growth of tourism, will be threatened. In other hand, tourism and recreation lead to greenhouse gas emission by aviation, passenger transport, accommodation activities, higher consumption domestic products etc.

Finally if we can introduce sustainable environmental friendly development projects such as green buildings, sustainable waste management systems, remunerative public transport system, cycling and walking paths and etc., we can contribute to mitigate climate change impacts as a country. In addition, as individuals we must reduce our own carbon foot print to convey our journey towards climate justice as conscientious individuals. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Another successful Awareness Program on Solid Waste Management in Southern Province, Sri Lanka

During Last few months ECO-V got involved in conducting series of programmes related Solid Waste management including Morawaka and Pitabeddara areas in Southern province.  One Mr. Ranjan Abeywicjrama from Morawaka who really wants to make sustainable community with proper waste management system invited us to conduct these programmes. He is the owner of an organic farm called Shrawani Estate - who had been directly involved with the waste issue at Morawaka town for many years.  

Morawaka and Pitabeddara are two small towns that situated in Matara District of the Southern Province. Those are located along the A17 road near to Deniyaya which has become one of the major tourist destinations of Sri Lanka. These small towns surrounded by hills and its natural beauty and pleasing climate conditions have been threatened by careless garbage dumping. The Nilwala River which runs through these areas has also been polluted as this waste issue and misbehaviors of residents. Both town got severely flooded by the past recent floods they had the they were 20 feet under water. Basically purpose of this program series was making tidy town area and developing positive attitudes of residents towards a proper waste management system.  

1st Session

The 1st program was held on 03rd of August, 2017 at Nilwala River Breeze Hotel, Morawaka and organized by Mr.Ranjan with the support of Pitabeddara Pradeshiya Sabha. Members of Trade union – Morawaka, Few Police officers of Pitabeddara Police, PHI officers, teachers from schools and preschools, staff members of Provincial Council, members of three wheeler union, few grama niladharis (Village state representatives) and residents of Morawaka area were participated at the session. 

Talking about Waste Segregation

Eco bricks and Saree bags 

Watching related video clips 

It was a very successful session since we were able to talk to the grass root level of that area and also we discussed on proper waste management methods with officers from various administrations who supports the community. It was reported, many people have died and many are reported missing since “Morawaka kanda” collapsed due to landslide during recent rainy season. This kind of environmental and climate crises happens because of negative human factors. So we were able to indicate that the gap between environment and human is the major issue for these kind of environmental disasters.  We mentioned that human are a small part of this environment and we have no right to destroy the environment. Discarded polythene bags, plastic bottles, cans and other non – biodegradable waste create blocks in water drains and canals. It directly supports to increase floods at town areas. 

It was taken well by the participants and they were very satisfied and many of them involved with the discussion with their own plans to continue this program to make sustainable and green atmosphere around Morawaka and Pitabeddara areas. 

Mr.Ranjan is discussing on future waste management plans with the audience 

Participants are involving with the discussion 

Police and PHI Officers 

After the session team ECO-V had a great opportunity to visit Sharwani Estate (organic garden) owned by Mr. Ranjan and had a beautiful lunch. 

2nd Session

As a result of the program which held on 3rd of August, ECO-V received another invitation by Divisional Secretariat of Pitabeddara to conduct the same Waste Management session on 22nd of August. They specially requested us to create awareness on Conscious Consumerism too which is another key area of ECO-V.  Over 160 staff members of Divisional Secretariat were participated in that session. 

After the session organizers mentioned that they had planned to give a cloth bag and a stainless steel lunch box for all participants.  

3rd Session

In the same evening Mr. Ranjan had organized a another Q & A session at Pitabeddara Pradeshiya Sabha premises, for small group of residence who are giving their own waste to the Pradeshiya sabha garbage collectors. Few staff members who had not participated the previous program at Morawaka also joined with this session. This was a kind of follow up session for Morawaka participants. 

We were able to see that Pitabeddara Pradeshiya Sabha staff had practiced making Eco bricks after the 1st program which we conducted at Morawaka.

After the session, organizers discussed on future waste management plans at Morawaka town area. They have already planned to arrange dustbins with relevant waste segregation color-codes at Morawaka town. In addition, they have planned to create awareness among community by conducting similar kind of programs and after that they will get legal actions against contraventions. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More Go Green activities, connecting with Mother Nature in the month of June…

Team ECO-V was fully involved with creating awareness during the month of June. After the Environmental day program on the 5th and 6th of June conducted in Matale. We did some other several awareness programs and exhibitions in few regions of Sri Lanka.

Springfield International School - Colombo 

Mrs. Kanchana was invited to conduct a session for kids on “10R system towards zero waste practice” at morning assembly of Springfield international school, Borella, Colombo on the 14th. I also participated with that session to learn how to get involve with kids as a program presenter. The program was very successful as children adjoined the session with patience and enthusiasm and the staff also contributed their co-operation. 

Future Minds 2017 – An educational exhibition, Colombo and Kandy

Due to our positive participation at EDEX exhibition, ECO-V was invited to do series of educational exhibitions at BMICH of Colombo and Kandy City Center (KCC) of Kandy by Future Minds organizing committee. Exhibition at BMICH was held on 16th Friday to 18th Sunday and exhibition at KCC was held on 24th Saturday and 25th Sunday.  So we shared knowledge among public on various areas such as Conscious Consumerism, sustainable waste management towards zero waste, how to connect with Mother Nature etc. It is quite interesting to observe that Colombo youth were very enthusiastic to learn about negative impacts of fizzy drinks and junk foods. But when we were talking on the same topic in Kandy, majority of Kandy youth did not have such interest on that. Any how we hope to expand our awareness island wide as soon as possible. 

Sarangi - Volunteer From Matara

Bio Diversity park - Thalawathugoda

17th of June - "It was very nice to be back at Bio Diversity park at Thalawathugoda where i got involved with making there Butterfly Garden along with students from University of Colombo, two years ago.Its a very happy feeling to be back there. I was invited to conduct a "Nature Kids" programme for about 60 kids to celebrate World Environmental day. It was very nice teaching them "how to connect with Nature" and parents too enjoyed it. Thank you Chethika Gunasiri for inviting me as a resource person." - Mrs. Kanchana 

MAS Athena – Thulhiriya, Kurunegala

ECO-V has been working closely with MAS holdings in past few years. This time ECO-V was invited to do a session on “Connecting with Mother Nature towards Sustainability” for school children, at a 3 day residential workshop organized by Eco Go Beyond team at MAS Athena, Thulhiriya on 20th of June. 120 students representing 30 schools participated at the camp. Mrs. Kanchana conducted a one hour session while three of us (Waruni, Lakmini, and Chapa) took the responsibility of explaining the mobile exhibition unit.

Prym Intimates – Biyagama, Colombo

Another awareness programme at MAS...
According to an invitation for a session on “Domestic Waste Management and Environmental Impacts of Waste” by Prym Intimates at Biyagama, team ECO-V did another one hour awareness session concurrence with their green day celebration on 27th of June. It was a novel experience for me since I have not conducted such a session before in a reputed organization like MAS although I have some experience is addressing a huge crowd. The awareness session was well taken by the participants and all admired our effort in practical guidance given towards waste management. 

Ms. Kanchana was invited to Sweden to attend a workshop in representing Diakonia partner organization for Climate change. She was in Sweden for a week from 25th June in a planning meeting with 6 more countries who are also partners of Diakonia.

That’s how ECO-V spent their month of June continuing their mission in protecting Mother Nature!. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

World Environmental Day Exhibition 2017

Although World Environmental Day (WED) occurred on 5th of June in every year, we are practicing environmental conservation continuously as Eco Friendly Volunteers. Therefore every day is an environmental day for us. However, we were invited to create awareness on WED 2017 on “conscious consumerism & connecting with Mother Nature” by District Secretariat, Matale. We cordially accepted the invitation since ECO-V is willing to evolve knowledgeable green thinkers among the society.
We arrived to District Secretariat, Matale in the morning of 5th and started an awareness program with our conscious consumerism exhibition unit which was an outcome of the Diakonia project last year. 

The feed backs of the District Secretariat staff who participated in this exhibition was very positive and we realized that their motivation on our program was very high. After learning about sustainable living with eco-friendly routines from ECO-V staff, they asked about natural products instead of artificial products. We were very happy about their positive green modification.

Besides from District Secretariat staff, residents of Matale area, police & army officers, School teachers, students and persons who work in various sectors also visited and discussed with us asking many questions. We talked about Sugar level of fizzy drinks, meanings of E/INS numbers in Junk foods, impacts of plastics & polythene, Domestic waste management & Natural products. After the school time, some parents who have visited the exhibition in the morning, came again with their children and asked about some junk foods which are habituated to eat by their children. That was the best thing which I felt because I realized that consumers in our country are misled by deceptive marketing tactics and their self-instigation to knowing the truth about junk foods and ingredients of them are very high, but there is no opportunity. So I believe that we could do what we can for our consumers.  

While doing the exhibition by us (Waruni, Lakmini, and Chapa), Mrs. Kanchana went to the Ovilikanda Maha Vidyalaya which is declared as a Sustainable village by the Sri Lankan government. There was a student camp organized by government to celebrate WED and Ms. Kanchana was invited to give a lecture on “connecting with Nature”.  

The 2nd day morning (6th of June) we started the awareness program with our exhibition unit at Christ Church college, Matale. Students, academic staff and non-academic staff visited to get the awareness on conscious consumerism. We had to spend few super busy hours since students were coming continuously as a parade representing their classes. During this period, Ms. Kanchana delivered another presentation for 150 students on the topic of “Connecting with Nature” which is the theme for WED this year.

Finally we could make eminent Environmental day in Matale area with making green thinkers. I’m absolutely happy about these two days since I could take part to spread knowledge among society although I had to talk endlessly. It was not a struggle, but a satisfaction.